St Gallen MIF sample essays and recommendation letters

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St Gallen Application Essays & Questions 2023-2024

  1. State your motivation for enrolling in the desired Master’s programme.
  2. Describe where and how you carried out any extracurricular activities, international experience and what kind of work experience you already have.

St Gallen Winning Sample Essays – 1

State your motivation for enrolling in the desired Master’s program.Describe where and how you carried out any extracurricular activities, international experience and what kind of work experience you already have.

My motivation for enrolling in the Master’s in Finance program at St. Gallen stems from my earnest desire to deepen my financial expertise and leverage this knowledge to make impactful contributions within the financial sector. St. Gallen’s reputation for excellence in finance, its focus on a global perspective, and its commitment to integrating theory with real-world application align perfectly with my career objectives. The rigorous curriculum, combined with opportunities for practical engagement through the St. Gallen’s Capstone Project and international internships, presents an ideal platform for enhancing my analytical skills and understanding of complex financial systems.

Extracurricular Activities:

Throughout my academic and professional journey, I have actively engaged in various extracurricular activities that have enriched my leadership and organizational skills. While at university, I spearheaded a student-led initiative focused on enhancing financial literacy among high school students. This involved designing interactive workshops and simulations that introduced basic economic concepts and personal finance management. These activities not only helped in nurturing my teaching and public speaking skills but also instilled a strong sense of social responsibility by promoting education on financial matters. 

International Experience:

My most formative international experience was during my internship at UBS in Hong Kong, which provided me with a broader understanding of global financial markets and the nuances of international finance. Working in one of Asia’s financial epicenters exposed me to diverse financial products and strategies, as well as regulatory environments. This experience was invaluable as it offered me a unique perspective on the interconnectedness of global markets and the importance of cultural sensitivity and adaptability in a global professional setting.

 Work Experience:

Professionally, I have accumulated significant experience in the financial sector through my role in investment banking operations at UBS. Here, I managed projects aimed at improving operational efficiencies through automation and risk management solutions. My responsibilities included conducting detailed feasibility analyses, collaborating with cross-functional teams, and presenting findings and recommendations to senior management. This role not only enhanced my technical and analytical capabilities but also refined my project management and interpersonal skills, preparing me for more strategic roles in finance.

My academic pursuits, extracurricular engagements, international exposure, and professional experiences have equipped me with a solid foundation in finance and a keen understanding of its impact on society. Enrolling in the Master’s in Finance program at St. Gallen is a strategic step towards achieving my career goal of becoming a leader in financial strategy and innovation. I am eager to immerse myself in St. Gallen’s collaborative and intellectually stimulating environment, which I believe will be instrumental in helping me realize my professional aspirations and contribute meaningfully to the finance community.

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St Gallen Winning Sample Essays – 2

State your motivation for enrolling in the desired Master’s program.Describe where and how you carried out any extracurricular activities, international experience and what kind of work experience you already have.

 

My motivation for enrolling in the Master’s in Finance program at the University of St. Gallen stems from a deep-rooted passion for the financial industry and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Having garnered over six years of professional experience as an Investment Analyst at Compass Group LLC, one of the largest Latin American hedge funds with over $40 billion in assets under management, I have developed a profound understanding of the intricacies and complexities of the financial markets.

Throughout my tenure at Compass Group, I have consistently demonstrated a strong quantitative aptitude, analytical mindset, and proficiency in leveraging technology to drive financial success. One of my notable achievements was spearheading the automation process, where I created several tools for equity screening, performance reporting, and data analysis. These tools streamlined processes and enhanced decision-making capabilities, contributing to the firm’s overall success. Additionally, I played a crucial role in developing marketing materials for our main funds, showcasing my ability to effectively communicate complex financial information to diverse audiences.

Beyond my professional responsibilities, I am currently a Level III candidate in the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) program, reflecting my commitment to continuous learning and staying abreast of the latest trends and best practices in the finance industry. This relentless pursuit of knowledge and professional growth has been a driving force behind my desire to further my education and enhance my expertise through the Master’s in Finance program at the University of St. Gallen.

Moreover, my extracurricular activities and international experiences have played a pivotal role in shaping my global perspective and fostering a deep appreciation for cultural diversity. During my undergraduate studies, I actively participated in the “Un Techo para mi País” (A Roof for My Country) initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to building houses for underprivileged families in my community. This experience not only instilled in me a strong sense of empathy and a desire to create positive social impact but also taught me the invaluable lessons of teamwork, resilience, and adaptability. 

Furthermore, my role as the captain of my college football team honed my leadership skills and ability to foster collaborative environments, empowering team members and effectively communicating strategies to diverse audiences. These qualities have been instrumental in my professional journey and will undoubtedly contribute to my success in the Master’s program and beyond.

The University of St. Gallen’s reputation for academic excellence, combined with its emphasis on practical applications and international exposure, resonates deeply with my aspirations. The program’s rigorous curriculum, which combines cutting-edge financial theory with real-world case studies and experiential learning opportunities, aligns perfectly with my goal of acquiring a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the finance industry.

Furthermore, the university’s diverse and globally-oriented student body presents an invaluable opportunity for me to engage with individuals from various cultural backgrounds, fostering cross-cultural understanding and broadening my perspectives. This exposure will be instrumental in preparing me to navigate the increasingly interconnected and globalized financial landscape.

Ultimately, my motivation for enrolling in the Master’s in Finance program at the University of St. Gallen is driven by a relentless pursuit of knowledge, a deep-rooted passion for the financial industry, and a desire to contribute to the advancement of responsible and sustainable financial practices. With my academic excellence, professional achievements, extracurricular experiences, and a global mindset, I am confident in my ability to thrive in this dynamic program and make a meaningful impact on the financial sector and society at large.

St Gallen Recommendation Letter – Key Questions

  1. What are the candidate’s most revealing qualities
  2. What are the candidate’s most significant weaknesses?
  3. Do you consider the candidate suitable for admission to a challenging full-time program such as the MCF – Master in Corporate Finance?
  4. Do you know of any purely emotional factors to be kept in mind regarding the candidate’s effective participation in the MCF – Master in Corporate Finance? If so, could you give some instances?

MiF Recommendation Letters
(Free Samples & successful Examples)

Professor - Recommendation letter Sample 1

Here is a quick PDF of a sample recommendation our client submitted for a successful admit. 

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To,

Admissions Committee

HEC Paris – Masters in Finance Program

 

Date: 08-09-2023

 

Subject: “Recommendation letter for Akhil’s application to MIF program at HEC Paris”

Dear Admissions Committee, 

I have known Akhil for over 2 years now. He was a student in my Entrepreneurship course as part of his Minor in Entrepreneurship and Management. As a student in my class, Akhil showed great skill at applying these notions in the more practical in-class quizzes, his final group business pitch at the end of the course, and his professional activities at UBS. Akhil’s also had a remarkable performance in my course, in which Akhil got the highest grade possible of A+. 

In terms of his potential,

Akhil stood out to me in the final project that I gave as part of the course evaluation.  As a major assessment, I give a project assignment for students to work in groups and pitch a good, self-sustaining business idea.

Akhil took the initiative and created a multicultural and diverse team with students not only from different countries but also students from different majors and successfully delivered a group business pitch for a student-run laundry and cleaning business. The idea picked by his team was unique, and he actively sought my advice and mentorship to make the team and the project successful. 

Another noteworthy facet is the analytical research done by Akhil before and after seeking my advice; he actively made an effort to learn about diverse topics that he had not been exposed to before and was successfully able to learn about the different aspects of entrepreneurship, such as management and finance. Demonstrating his goal and detail-oriented ability. Rhe idea, the data oriented research, and the financial analysis were really impressive (synthesized and executed on assigned taks). Also, the real-world considerations regarding the execution of the pitch, as well as the cohesive delivery from a team collaboration perspective, were good. 

I liked the project, and I asked Akhil if I could include the pitch and presentation as teaching material for my course as well as offering a Research Assistant position to Akhil in the next summer, which he was unable to take due to him having graduated

With his analytical skills and his collaborative approach, it came to me as no surprise that he was able to successfully chase his goal and transition into finance directly from his undergrad in engineering, landing a role in finance with UBS in their Investment Banking Operations in Hong Kong. 

In terms of his potential areas of Improvement

I think Akhil’s analytical nature and detail-orientedness sometimes leads to him getting too caught up in details and spending excess time on the intricate details, leading to improper time management. 

In the group project, Akhil struggled with time management and was a week behind schedule for his group due to him giving equal attention to all the details of the presentation, losing track of the bigger picture of the project. With my guidance, he was able to get back on speed and submitted the project by the submission deadline. But I believe that Akhil needs to work on gaining a view of the overall project that he is working for better time management.

Overall Recommendation

Akhil is only starting his financial career, but he has the analytical skills and a level of understanding about management, teamwork and other elements of organizational life that are comparable to other top students that I recommended before to Masters programs. 

Akhil’s progress at CityU and at UBS clearly demonstrates his intellect and hard work. He is capable and has an acute intellectual capacity for thinking analytically. I believe Akhil is on track to make a successful career that blends his quantitative inclinations with his qualititaive skills, inspiring those that he will lead and work with. 

To conclude, I strongly recommend Akhil, and I would be happy to talk with you specifically about his candidacy if you have additional questions.

Regards

Professor XXXXXX
Head of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Management

XXXX University

How long and in what capacity have you known the candidate?

I have known Pranav for roughly one and a half years. I was his mentor during his internship with UBS. Although he completed his internship and has moved on, we still continue to keep in touch to exchange different business ideas.

What do you think about the candidate’s professional performance and potential (including any room for improvement)?

When Pranav started his internship with UBS, he was one of the most proactive interns. Since he didn’t have a finance background, he showed keen interest in learning and came up the curve very quickly. 

The team assigned him Automation and Efficiency-related projects, and while working in the automation team he managed to stand out from other interns by providing solutions that were slightly outside of the box and impressed everyone on the team. 

For instance, he met with various team leads to understand their automation requirements and one team lead expressed her frustration with the manual risk report that used to take 10-12 hours every quarter. After the meeting, Pranav took the proactive step of helping automate this report for the team. The specific process automation that he implemented was for risk reports for the risk team. The team had a manual time consuming process in which they had to refer to multiple Excel sheets to create their quarterly risk report. Pranav understood and mapped the entire process before using an automation tool to automate it. This led to a time reduction of 90 percent in the compilation of the report. The automation process he designed was ingenious; no one had thought of using it before, and that is why I think everyone was impressed with his out-of-the-box thinking. 

Apart from that, another one of his biggest strengths is his willingness to take initiative. 

To highlight another instance, he noticed the dashboards in Operations and wider UBS were on Tableau, he took the initiative to compare Tableau and PowerBi and pitched shifting the employee statistics dashboard to PowerBi. The management team agreed and Pranav successfully created an Employee demographic dashboard on PowerBi. This led to cost savings for the department as UBS was already paying for PowerBi. He also took even more initiative, helping others in his team and UBS get certified on PowerBi and documented his knowledge for everyone before he left his internship.

On the flip side, when it comes to areas of improvement, I would also say this proactiveness and eagerness sometimes led to difficult situations. Like other fresh hires, he was also trying to prove himself in the initial months of his tenure with the team. However, this often meant that he would try to manage and solve things on his own instead of seeking help. This led to delays and situations becoming critical.

Pranav was tasked with getting certified on Automation Anywhere, another automation tool used by the team. He was unable to crack the certification according to the timeline assigned to him and was delayed by a month in getting certified. He tried to manage and solve the situation but was unable to do so without help from his team, this delay led to an increased workload for the rest of the team and longer hours as work had been earmarked for Pranav to do as soon as he would be finished with the certification. 

Overall, I would say that Pranav has great potential; he is not afraid to take the initiative and present his ideas.

Regards
XXXXXX
Manager – UBS, Hong Kong Offices

How do you know the applicant? How long have you known them for?

I have known Huang for almost 2 years now. 

I came to know Huang when he was working at Chainfir Capital. I was an investor of the fund at Chainfir Capital. Huang worked as an investment manager at Chainfir and we had meetings together from time to time.

Later when Huang and his colleagues decided to start their own Venture Capital fund (Genesis 22) focused on crypto industry, I joined their venture both as an investor and an advisor of their VC Fund. 

What would you say are the applicant’s key strengths and talents?

After working with Huang, I think one of his key talents is that he is very detail oriented and loves to perform extensive due diligence.

For instance, Genesis 22 was close to making an investment decision on a project called Glitter Finance last year. At the time, it was a rather popular project among VCs and had already received several investments. The analyst in our team provided positive comments on its technology and future potential. 

Huang was responsible for speaking with the project team and conducting due diligence. He was able to approach the situation with a sceptical mind and later identified several risks of the project by paying attention to each detail. He made an analysis of the profile of each team member of the project and determined that the technical background of the team was not strong enough to develop the promising highly technical project they claimed. Also, he mentioned that while observing all the interaction between the founder of the project and individual investors in the community group, he noticed that the founder often gets angry easily when facing tough questions. 

He raised these concerns during the investment decision meeting, and at the end of the meeting, we decided not to invest. A few months later – the project went bust because the value of the project was way inflated and every institutional investor suffered a loss. I am glad that Huang was able to pay close attention to such details and has always worked with great attention to achieve better performance.

Another key talent of Huang is his multi-tasking skills. I am really impressed by his performance in dealing with a variety of projects simultaneously. When he works as an investment manager in the team, he needs to handle the communication and investigation with 5-8 projects at the same time. He has never left others waiting for his work, and we can always set up the evaluation meeting in the anticipated time frame. He is also able to deal with the pressure when there are extra projects which need his attention.

What would you say are the applicant’s key weaknesses or areas for improvement?

As the founder of a venture capital firm, Huang has built a team and became a leader at such a young age. But I think there is still room for improvement in his management skills, especially in delegating workload. 

As Huang prefers to participate in every stage of the investment decision of a certain project, it limits the overall number of projects he can oversee. For example, he spent much time on initial screening and understanding complex technology concepts of different projects. In my opinion, he could delegate this work and trust his colleagues to complete these tasks as our analysts with technology backgrounds are capable of determining the technology feasibility so that he can invest most of his time in reviewing the big picture.

Second thing I have asked him to improve upon is that he can sometimes be over-optimistic and confident when things are going well. From my perspective, it is crucial to keep a cool mind when dealing with different market situations. When he started Genesis 22, several investments that we made looked promising. Consequently, he was on the aggressive side to allocate a higher proportion of the fund to such projects. However, when there was a change in the market trend and crypto industry started crashing, some investments did not perform as well as we expected. The fund suffered extra losses because of the higher allocation made to these investments. 

Huang realized his mistake afterwards and became more cautious in making an allocation to investments to improve the diversification of the portfolio. I hope he has learned his lesson and does not repeat the same mistake again. 

In which areas of development has the applicant progressed most in the time you’ve known them?

Overall the one big area where I think Huang has really improved is his ability to find and initiate business opportunities and partnerships.

When he started Genesis 22 Ventures, His venture was not receiving stable cash flow except for the return on the investments. He or his patterns did not know that a venture capital fund can expand its business through partnerships and pitching good projects to other VC firms. This way they can build a revenue stream based on commission without risking their own money. 

When I brought this up to him, he learned the rules quickly. He has put in great effort in communicating with other VCs to understand how others operate and create business ideas. The first few times when I had meetings with Huang he could only interpret the general basics of the start-up projects. Therefore, he was not able to provide insightful opinions in decision making. After Huang talked to many teams and spent much time reading industry news, I observed that he was getting better and better at describing business models of different projects in a big picture. Although Huang doesn’t have a strong technology background, he is able to integrate the work of analysts into his knowledge and present a blockchain project in a big picture smoothly.

Through partnerships and advisory services, Huang has helped the venture generate around $40,000 in extra revenue. Genesis 22 has expanded its services to crypto exchange listing consulting, funding advisory and community management for startup projects, etc.

I have seen him learn and grow and I think Huang has progressed massively in his commercial awareness.

If you are a professional referee, would you work with the applicant again post-Masters in Financial Analysis?

Absolutely. Although his fund currently suffers a drop in the quality of deal flow given the bearish situation of the blockchain market, he has made the right decision to make very few investments recently based on the interests of investors. I respect his decision to pursue a master’s in finance degree, and if he wants to resume his Venture Capital firm full-time or work at my VC in the future I would love to work with him again.



Do’s:

  1. Choose the Right Recommender:

    • Select someone who knows you well, can speak to your professional skills and achievements, and can provide detailed and specific examples of your work. Current or past supervisors, clients, or mentors who have worked closely with you are ideal choices.
  2. Provide Specific Examples:

    • Ensure the recommender includes specific examples of your accomplishments, skills, and experiences. This makes the recommendation more credible and impactful. Detailed anecdotes and quantifiable achievements are particularly effective.
  3. Meet with Your Recommender:

    • Schedule a meeting with your recommender to discuss your goals, achievements, and reasons for pursuing an MBA. Provide them with a detailed résumé and a list of your accomplishments to help them write a thorough and personalized letter.
  4. Ensure Timely Submission:

    • Set a personal deadline for your recommenders that is well ahead of the actual application deadline. This helps ensure that your letters are submitted on time and reduces last-minute stress.
  5. Highlight Strengths and Areas for Growth:

    • Encourage your recommender to provide a balanced view by mentioning your strengths along with areas for growth. Constructive feedback adds credibility and shows your willingness to improve.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t Write Your Own Recommendation:

    • Never write your own letter of recommendation, even if a recommender suggests it. Admissions committees can easily detect self-written letters, which can harm your application.
  2. Don’t Choose Recommenders Based on Title Alone:

    • Avoid selecting recommenders solely based on their impressive titles or positions if they do not know you well. A letter from a CEO or politician who has minimal interaction with you is less effective than one from someone who can provide detailed insights into your work and character.
  3. Don’t Use Generic Praise:

    • Ensure your recommender avoids using vague, generic praise without backing it up with specific examples. Statements like “She is a great employee” are less impactful than detailed anecdotes that illustrate why you are exceptional.
  4. Don’t Ignore the Application Instructions:

    • Make sure your recommenders follow the specific instructions and format required by each business school. Different schools may have varying requirements, and it’s important to adhere to them.
  5. Don’t Overload with Superlatives:

    • Encourage your recommender to be honest and avoid excessive use of superlatives. Over-the-top praise without substance can seem insincere. Balanced, realistic assessments that highlight genuine strengths and achievements are more effective.

These do’s and don’ts will help ensure that the letters of recommendation are strong, credible, and supportive of your MBA application.

Here’s is a quick template tailored for candidates applying to a Master’s in Finance program:

Admissions Committee
[Finance Program Name]
[University Name]
[University Address]
[City, State, ZIP Code]

[Date]

Subject: “Letter of recommendation for [Candidate’s Name]”

Dear Members of the Admissions Committee,

I am pleased to write this letter of recommendation for [Candidate’s Name]. I have had the pleasure of working with [Candidate’s Name] at [Company Name] for [duration], where I serve as [Recommender’s Title]. In my capacity, I have directly supervised [Candidate’s Name] and have gained a thorough understanding of their professional capabilities and character, particularly in the field of finance.

Specific Examples of Performance and Achievements

[Candidate’s Name] has consistently demonstrated exceptional [skills/qualities] in finance. For example, in [specific project/task], [Candidate’s Name] [specific action taken], which resulted in [quantifiable result/outcome]. This achievement is indicative of [Candidate’s Name]’s [particular quality, e.g., analytical skills, financial modeling, risk management].

Another instance of [Candidate’s Name]’s capabilities was during [another specific project/task]. Here, [Candidate’s Name] [specific action taken], leading to [quantifiable result/outcome]. This project highlighted [Candidate’s Name]’s ability to [related skills, e.g., manage financial portfolios, conduct market analysis, handle complex financial challenges].

Constructive Feedback and Areas of Improvement

During our time working together, I provided [Candidate’s Name] with constructive feedback on [specific area for improvement]. In response, [Candidate’s Name] [specific actions taken to improve]. This demonstrated their openness to feedback and commitment to personal and professional growth in the financial sector.

Leadership Skills and Team Inclusiveness

[Candidate’s Name] is known for their inclusiveness and encouragement of others. For example, during [specific instance], [Candidate’s Name] [specific actions taken to include and encourage others]. This behavior fostered a collaborative and supportive work environment and showcased their leadership and interpersonal skills.

Conclusion and Endorsement

In conclusion, I wholeheartedly endorse [Candidate’s Name] for the [Master’s in Finance program] at [University Name]. I am confident that [Candidate’s Name]’s [specific strengths/qualities] will be an asset to your program and that they will thrive in the academically rigorous and collaborative environment of [University Name].

Please feel free to contact me at [Recommender’s Email] or [Recommender’s Phone Number] if you require any further information.

Sincerely,

[Recommender’s Name]
[Recommender’s Title]
[Company Name]

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